businessman working late at office

Ever stayed late at work, clocking in extra hours, only to find your paycheck not reflecting that effort? You’re not alone. Overtime violations are a surprisingly common issue in the workplace. These situations, where employees aren’t compensated fairly for their additional time, can lead to frustration and confusion. Understanding your rights and the steps to address potential violations is crucial in ensuring you’re paid what you’ve rightfully earned.

Understanding Overtime Laws

Overtime laws, established to protect employees, ensure fair compensation for additional hours worked beyond a regular workweek. In the United States, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) typically governs these regulations. Generally, employees working over 40 hours per week are entitled to overtime pay, usually calculated as one and a half times their regular hourly rate. However, not all positions qualify for overtime; certain categories like managerial or professional roles may be exempt. It’s essential to know your classification and how these laws apply to your specific situation. Grasping these details can be the first step in recognizing if you’re receiving the pay you deserve for your overtime hours.

Identifying Signs of an Overtime Violation

Recognizing an overtime violation starts with being aware of your work hours and pay. Key signs include not being compensated for hours worked beyond your standard schedule, receiving your regular pay rate for overtime hours instead of the increased rate, or not seeing overtime pay reflected in your paycheck at all. Additionally, if your employer discourages or refuses to record your extra hours, it could be a red flag. These indicators often hint at potential discrepancies between the work you’ve done and the compensation you’ve received.

Documenting Your Work Hours

Accurately documenting your work hours plays a pivotal role in addressing overtime violations. Maintain a detailed log of your daily and weekly hours, including the specific times you start and end your work, along with any breaks taken. Utilize digital tools or a simple notebook for this purpose. This record becomes invaluable if discrepancies arise between your account and your employer’s records. It not only supports your claim but also helps in providing clear evidence if legal action becomes necessary.

Communicating with Your Employer

When suspecting an overtime violation, it’s important to approach your employer professionally and calmly. Prepare for the conversation by gathering your documented work hours and any relevant payroll information. Present your concerns clearly, focusing on facts rather than emotions. It’s often helpful to propose this discussion as a means to clarify misunderstandings. Many employers appreciate the opportunity to rectify any inadvertent errors. Effective communication is about seeking a resolution and maintaining a positive working relationship, so approach the conversation with a cooperative and open mindset.

Seeking Legal Advice

If your concerns about overtime violations remain unresolved after discussing them with your employer, it may be time to seek legal advice. An employment law attorney can provide clarity on your rights and guide you through the complexities of labor laws. They can assess your situation, advise on the feasibility of a claim, and represent you in negotiations or legal proceedings if necessary. Their support can be important in navigating the legal landscape and ensuring that your rights as an employee are protected. 

Contact an Experienced Overtime Violation Attorney

At the Lore Law Firm, we’re dedicated to advocating for employees’ rights. Our experienced team can evaluate your overtime concerns, offering personalized information and robust legal representation if needed. Don’t let overtime violations go unaddressed. Contact us through our free and confidential online client intake form, and let’s work together to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.